Space Hat Dot Pictogram, 24 x 36, oil on board, 2014, Carollyne Yardley

Space Hat Dot Pictogram, 24 x 36, oil on board, 2014, Carollyne Yardley DOT Pictograms.

DOT Pictogram Paintings

Introducing my a new series called DOT Pictograms. They are DOT Pictogram Paintings of my previous work.

I’ve been wanting to deconstruct the “squirrel” paintings for just over a year now. My thoughts were, I’ve created these wonderful creatures and characters, but they needed to be better known and understood, even if only by myself. Getting to know the characters better, is another reason why I’ve been creating 3D interpretations of my work, along with experimenting (early stages) with stop motion animation.

Further to this idea, I wanted to explore the how my artworks could convey messages without using a face of any kind, but still stay within the figurative art genre. And what they would look like by reducing and simplifying my understanding of what constitutes hair, and clothing, etc.


Through research, I was reminded of the DOT (Department of Transportation) Pictograms and Icons.  Dot Pictograms are used to convey messages to travelers without using words; there are 50 official symbols worldwide.  This ties in to my previous life, and professional experience, using graphics for web development. It’s part of the job to know there is an official list to use for a clients website.

More recently, however, we’ve been seeing the rampant use of pictograms (most not official) as avatars, and if you sign up for any social medial site today, you’ll be allocated the standard “boringhumanalert” pictogram, that becomes your representation unless you upload your own, “thisishowawesomeIam” photo representation.

Space Hat

Space Hat Squirrel is the first piece I have chosen to reduce and deconstruct for my experiment. As I worked, I became very aware of how the Dot Pictogram version of Space Hat felt different. The Dot Pictogram version felt strangely more alive, and certainly more modern in this minimalist version. I’m sure this can be explained because it overcame it’s nostalgic sensibilities of wearing the vintage Chanel suit.

At the same time, however, the DOT pictogram of Space Hat kept the same refined state of radiating energy as the original Space Hat Squirrel painting.

With the absence of a face, I was also curious to know what kind of relationship would be developed between myself and the painting.  People really fall in love with a Squirrealism character (as do I), so I was interested to see how that feeling would change by seeing the “shadow’ of it’s former self.

Deconstruction, Reduction

By reducing Space Hat to its basic elements of a few simple spots and colour, I was interested to know how the piece would communicate something different.

Other questions explored:
– are my paintings still instantly recognizable (to people who are familiar with Squirrealism) and,
– at what point in the process (over the next 40 years) could/would they, ever be considered icons?

And finally,
– would they (more to come) ever be chosen by the American Institute of Graphic Arts as a new batch of official DOT Pictograms?

This one could be:

  • Virgin Airlines, First Class Lounge for Passengers to Mars

Being the creator of the original content has given me a more intimate relationship with the reductive process. It has certainly helped me in the continuation and pursuit of my studies in brand identity, repetition of imagery, and interests in what makes something iconic. As I create more DOT pictograms from previous Squirrealism paintings, I hope to share with you my feelings developed for each piece.

Drawing a Straight or Curved Hard Line

Turns out, drawing a straight or curved hard line, is lot bloody more difficult that it looks. Like, as in, way harder than rendering fur, or blending and bending fabric. HOLY.


With regards to Space Hat vs. Space Hat DOT pictogram?  I’d still get in the space shuttle with ya’ babe.


Carollyne Yardley, Space Hat Squirrel, oil on board, 14 x 20

Carollyne Yardley, Space Hat Squirrel, oil on board, 14 x 20